Ever hear this familiar warning as a kid? “You’ve been playing too many video games!” I’m beginning to think my Mom had a point (although in her case, she was probably referring to my regular habit of neglecting chores in favor of more quality time with my Sega Genesis, but I digress). Anyway—lately I’ve been buzzing back and forth between video games like a fly in a field full of cow shit, with no real purpose or agenda. The result is an overwhelming amount of mental clutter in the form of half-finished games.
Just for shiggles, here’s the abridged list of what I’m playing right now:
- Alan Wake (360)
- Dragon Age: Origins (360)
- Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
- Black Mirror II (PC)
- Darkfall 3: Lost Souls (PC)
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)
- Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)
I was wondering if anyone else has ever put a name to this affliction, and sure enough a quick Google search turned up this blog post which sums it up quite nicely: “Gamer Attention Deficit Disorder, or Gamer ADD, is a term used by many gamers to describe the behavior of flitting from one [game] to another, never sticking with one [game] for any appreciable amount of time; also, being easily distracted by new games and systems at the expense of your wallet, focus, or both.”
The last time I can remember playing a game from start to finish without any distractions whatsoever was when I played through Uncharted, which, begs the question: Is Gamer ADD perhaps just a symptom of mediocre games? Uncharted is a phenomenal game, and one I simply couldn’t put down. So what does that say about these other titles I’m playing? Why can’t any of them hold my attention for more than an hour or two in one session?
Maybe some of us play games like we watch TV: aimlessly flipping the channels, seeking a variety of choices in our entertainment. Or does it have more to do with a game’s design & playability? I know with some games, the stress level is much higher than others: frustrating sequences where I keep dying, puzzles I can’t solve, or tedious amounts of reading, grinding, or backtracking. These are probably the times when I’m most likely to power down one game and go fire up another.
Whatever the answer, it’s at least comforting to know I’m not the only one with this problem. How about you—do you ever get Gamer ADD?